Hibiscus laevis (Halberd-leaved Rose Mallow)

Plant Info
Also known as: Smooth Rose Mallow
Genus:Hibiscus
Family:Malvaceae (Mallow)
Life cycle:perennial
Origin:native
Habitat:sun; marshes, shallow water
Bloom season:July - September
Plant height:3 to 6 feet
Wetland Indicator Status:GP: OBL MW: OBL NCNE: OBL
MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):Minnesota county distribution map
National distribution (click map to enlarge):National distribution map

Pick an image for a larger view. See the glossary for icon descriptions.

Detailed Information

Flower: Flower shape: 5-petals

[photo of flower] Flowers are about 4 inches across with 5 round pinkish white overlapping petals, deep rose pink at the base and a column covered with creamy white stamens in the throat. At the end of the column is a stigma with 5 creamy, fuzzy round branches at the tip. 5 fused green sepals with sharp pointed tips enclose buds and flower base; up to 12 narrow, curving bracklets are below. Profuse flowering from the upper leaf axils

Leaves and stem: Leaf attachment: alternate Leaf type: lobed Leaf type: simple

[photo of leaves] Leaves are up to 6 inches long and 4 inches wide, hairless with finely toothed edges, triangular in outline with usually 2 triangular (more or less) lobes at the base, on a long leaf stalk. Stems are erect, hairless, sometimes branching.

Fruit: Fruit type: capsule/pod

[photo of fruit] The sepals persist and enclose a 5-sectioned capsule containing fuzzy brown seeds. When ripe, a capsule section splits down the midrib.

Notes:

Many are surprised when I talk about a large native mallow especially near downtown St. Paul. Un-approachable without canoe I collected seeds in winter (~99% parasitized) and grew them out in isolation in garden in Lino Lakes. Robust grower but needs some water in dry weather. I have approached many in the nursery industry to get this onto the market and some like Tom's Outback Nursery (retail) in Hastings and Northern Perennials (wholesale) in Ham Lake offer it for sale. Seeds can also be purchased from Prairie Moon Nursery (catalog/web).

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More photos

Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk, taken at Lilydale Park in St. Paul and at residential garden in Lino Lakes

Comments

Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?

Posted by: Kate at Pickerel Lake
on: 2011-08-28 16:49:59

Your comment above mentions Lilydale and the photos looks like the east part of Pickerel Lake where I first found the mystery seed pods last fall, and went back and found the pretty "hibiscus" or the Halberd-leaved Rose-Mallow 8/27/11. If you'd like additional photos, I shot some nice ones. A new wildflower for me.

Posted by: Steve - Dakota County
on: 2012-07-16 18:40:16

July 15 2012 blooming in profusion seen as well on east end of Pickerell Lake. Also a new one for me. Only saw a couple of purple loosestrife around them so hopefully these invasives are being controlled.

Posted by: Matthew T - Whitetail woods regional park, Dakota County, MN
on: 2017-12-02 07:39:20

I had gone on a hike with my dad to check out whitetail woods in the afternoon on 8/23/17 As we were walking I stopped to take a picture of a flower it was huge and looked lake a hibiscus but I wasn't sure so when I went home I went to this website and searched "hibiscus" and two results popped up. Flower of an hour and this my flower matched all of the characteristics of this flower the inside and the leaves so I had an identification. Apparently the halberd leaved rose mallow is not common so I felt I had to report it.

Posted by: Mary M Franta - Mahtomedi
on: 2019-08-10 08:57:28

A friend took me to see this plant. He found it while kayaking in Wacouta bay just south of Red Wing. It was at least 6 ft tall. The plant was in a mud flat close to willows and must have been standing in a few feet of water earlier this spring due to flooding.

Posted by: Kate - Lilydale/ Pickerel Lake
on: 2020-07-26 15:49:14

I reported finding this on the east end of Pickerel Lake, past the railroad bridge August 2011, and I returned today and found it in full bloom and happy growing along the shore line. Happy to find it again.

Posted by: Suzi Moore - Inver Grove Heights
on: 2020-08-07 15:59:52

I saw about 2 dozen of these beauties near the east end of Pickerell Lake near the bike trail. New to me.

Posted by: Richie Swanson - Winona
on: 2020-09-11 07:03:39

A stand at least 20 feet wide and 10 feet deep at the west side of Lake Winona, Winona MN, on the shore opposite the Lyon's shelter. Growing in shallow water at edge of water lilies, arrowhead and purple loosestrife. 9-10-20. At first I mistook it for the new invasive, flowering rush.

Posted by: Mike - whitetail woods regional park
on: 2021-08-28 11:15:45

I was walking a prairie trail in august with several blooms from coneflowers and prairie onion on display. I was surprised to see this growing in the midst of prairie flowers. Ive grown "hardy hibiscus" for years but never imagined it to be a prairie plant!

Posted by: K. Chayka
on: 2021-08-28 20:02:40

Mike, it would indeed be surprising to see this plant in a prairie, since its habitat is wetlands, even in standing water. You may have seen something else. Post some images on the Minnesota Wildflowers Facebook page if you'd like confirmation.

Posted by: Mike - whitetail woods regional park
on: 2021-09-06 15:58:00

k. Chayka, I was surprised too. But there it was. I've been growing "hardy hibiscus" for almost 40 years. I know the flower, and I know the leaves, and I know the seed pods that were left behind by flowers that were already spent. I have pictures but dont really want to get into facebook posting.

Posted by: Mike - whitetail woods regional park
on: 2021-09-07 16:48:04

one last comment...if you look back in the thread, you'll see someone else sighted the same thing in the same park in august 2017. his bloom sighting is within a week of mine...both in late august. since hibiscus bloom late it seems like he and i saw the same thing in the same place in different years.

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